When: Sunday, 1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Records: Seahawks 7-5 and second in NFC West after Sunday’s win over the Bears in Chicago; Cardinals 4-8 and last in NFC West after Sunday’s loss to the Jets in the Meadowlands
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO Radio 97.3, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: Rams (5-6-1) at Bills; Dolphins at 49ers (8-3-1)
The Cardinals’ No. 7-ranked defense vs. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: The Cardinals will quickly discover that this rookie QB isn’t the same rookie QB they faced in the season opener. Wilson not only has 11 more games on his resume, he has played progressively better and therefore the coaches have allowed him to do more. In last week’s overtime upset of the Bears in Chicago, Wilson didn’t beat them only with his arm (23 of 37, 293 yards, two TD passes); he also beat them with his legs (71 rushing yards). Then there’s the factor that is Russell Wilson playing at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks are 5-0 and he has a passer rating of 122.0 and has completed 69 of 111 passes for 935 yards with 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions. The Cardinals will blitz him, because that’s what they do. So Wilson will need to show them what he can do.
One to watch
Seahawks CBs Walter Thurmond and Richard Sherman vs. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald: To say the Cardinals’ offensive is struggling doesn’t even scratch the surface of the problems they’ve had during their eight-man losing streak. But covering Fitzgerald remains Priority One, regardless of who’s throwing him the ball. The 6-3 Sherman gives the Seahawks someone with the needed size to matchup against the 6-4 Fitzgerald. Thurmond steps in for Brandon Browner, who was suspended four games by the league on Wednesday. Thurmond hasn’t played much since fracturing his fibula in Week 7 last season, but he has the skills to be a starter and now gets his chance against a quality opponent.
Fun to watch
The Cardinals’ better-than-the-team’s-record-would-indicate defense vs. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch: All the hubbub being generated by Wilson, the NFC Offensive Player of the Week, is overshadowing the obvious – it’s Lynch’s relentless efforts running the ball that setup the play-action passing game and also makes the zone-read runs by Wilson so effective because the defense is so determined to stop Lynch. After ripping off a string of four consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, Lynch has had 46 and 87 the past two weeks – and he had only 85 in the season-opening loss to the Cardinals. What’s that ticking noise? It’s Lynch, ready to explode.
One tough task
Cardinals QB John Skelton vs. the situation: Skelton is back in as the starter – begrudgingly – because Kevin Kolb isn’t ready to return from his rib injury and rookie QB Ryan Lindley had a rock-bottom outing in last week’s 7-6 loss to the Jets. Skelton started the season opener against the Seahawks, but didn’t finish because of an ankle injury he got while being hit by Seahawks tackle Clinton McDonald. Now, he’s back in – in the noise factory that is CenturyLink Field, against a Seahawks’ pass rush that is determined to have a bigger impact after collecting only two sacks in the past two games and directing an offense that ranks last in the NFL.
The Cardinals have won the past two meetings – both in Arizona – and lead the series 15-12. But the Seahawks have won the past two games played in Seattle. … In 17 games against the Seahawks, Fitzgerald has 106 receptions for 1,434 yards – more than against any other team in each category – and 10 touchdowns. … Cardinals DE Calais Campbell had 2.5 sacks in last season’s game in Seattle and has five in his past three games against the Seahawks. … Seahawks punter Jon Ryan is fifth in the league in net average (41.9) and punts inside the 20 (25). … Lynch is second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,138) and fourth in total yards (1,287). … The Seahawks’ Leon Washington is third in the league in kickoff return average (31.9). … Opponents are 18 of 18 on field goals against the Seahawks. … Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 100 tackles, while linebacker Daryl Washington leads the Cardinals with 109.